Archive for

The Importance Of A Medical History Form

It is so important to keep an updated medical history form on hand at all times. I’ll give you a case scenario.

You arrive at the hospital ER with your loved one. First you’re stopped at patient access where you have to provide all of your insurance and physician information. From there you give your health history to the ER nurse, and sometimes the doctor will even have you to repeat it (depending on the line of communication between the hospital staff). Then you arrive on the floor, and it’s time for the hospital admission and you’re asked the same questions again. All you want at this point in the whole process is for medical care to begin. Now…the questions asked are essential to good quality care, but when you’re worried about a loved one the last thing you want is to keep repeating the same information. It can be redundant, especially during a stressful time.

Then there are times when a person comes in to the ER and family can’t stay until the patient is assessed and sent to the appropriate floor. This could be a problem if the patient is too weak to speak or has dementia. It impedes care. Many patients will already have a list of medications on hand when they arrive, but with your medical history form on hand…. you arrive to the ER or the main floor…. allow medical personnel to make a copy of your health history form while you spend time with your loved one. Any information that they need they can obtain from the health history form that you provided them with. Basically with the exception of a few more questions all that remains is the primary reason for the hospital visit, any tests that need to be done and the head to toe assessment. Working as a medical nurse for over ten years, I have come to learn that having a health history form can make the world of difference.

Your medical history form should include (but does not have to be limited to the following) name, address, emergency contact, any allergies, insurance information, brief medical history, surgeries, any current medications, flu and pneumonia information, advance directive, living will, and primary physician information. This is enough so that medical personnel can properly and quickly begin to facilitate care.

It takes a little time to prepare a good thorough medical health history form but the end result and your peace of mind will make any time spent well worth it. Once you complete your medical history form put it in a safe place (one you will remember) and then be comforted in the fact that should the time present itself you will have all of the information needed to quickly begin care for your loved one.

Mini Medical Plans – Are They Right for Your Business?

The cost of health insurance can be daunting. If you are a new business owner who wants to provide health insurance coverage to his employees, you might have been stunned by the prices quoted to you to get all of them covered under a typical group health insurance policy. How can you provide this valuable benefit to your employees while still maintaining a healthy bottom line for your business? How about looking into mini medical plans? A mini medical plan is a less expensive form of health insurance coverage whereby you and your employees can get some health insurance coverage without going broke.

These plans provides health insurance coverage to those who cannot afford the premiums on a typical health insurance policy. It’s a way to get the day to day doctor visits paid for and for getting prescriptions filled. It does provide some other benefits such as hospitalization and surgery, but those benefits are quite limited. Typically, this type of policy is not going to cover a catastrophic illness or event. That is why they are less expensive, of course. But if its this or plan or nothing, it is likely that your workers prefer that you opt for a these plans so at least some of their medical issues will be paid for, if not all of them.

Mini medical plans pay the doctor’s directly based upon a schedule of benefits created by the insurance company. Therefore, if the schedule of benefits allows payment of $100.00 for an office visit, the insurance company will pay $100.00 only. If the office visit costs $150.00, the employee must come up with the difference. This actually is not unlike the co-pay in a traditional health insurance plan. The only difference is that the “co-pay” will vary depending on the cost of the service. Mini medical plan sometimes offer discounts if you go to a doctor in its Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network. Thus, your employee might wind up paying nothing for his office visit if he chooses an in-plan doctor.

Mini medical plans also cover hospitalization and surgical services. This type of coverage can range from paying $100 per day to $1000 per day depending on the monthly premium paid by the employer. It’s a typical case of “you get what you pay for.” That is, the higher the premium, the more coverage is offered. A mini medical plan might be right for your business if you do not offer medical insurance to your employees but you cannot afford to offer a major medical plan because of the costs associated with it. A mini medical plan will cover wellness check-ups, x-rays and doctor visits.

If you need assistance in locating these coverages or major medical for that matter, please visit our website at and leave your contact information so we may respond to your request and help guide you.

For CEOs Considering Consumer Driven Health Plans to Reduce Cost, A “Well Better” Permanent Solution

Consumer Driven Group Health Plans (CDHPs): How and Why They Miss the Target
by Michael Chapman

The rising expense of group health insurance is a big issue for most small businesses businesses (businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Companies of this size represent 95% of all businesses in the US.) The percent of small businesses offering group health insurance plans has fallen steadily. Today half of small businesses offer group health insurance plan for their employees, down from 70% a decade ago.

The only effective way that a company can reduce the cost of group medical insurance is if their employees have fewer medical insurance claims. This can lead to a reduction in the overall increase in the cost of group health insurance for the company the following year, when the company signs a contract at new rates for the next year. While there may not be a cost reduction, fewer claims should mean a lower than normal premium increase.

“Consumer driven group health plans” are plans that pass on more cost to the employees in the form of higher deductibles and higher or no prescription or doctor visit co-pays, and “incentives” to reward employees for reducing their medical insurance claims. These incentives include monetary and tax incentives approved by the IRS that reward the employee for controlling the cost of their medical claims.

The idea is that if more of the health care costs are shifted to the employee, and if the employee makes fewer medical claims, they are rewarded with tax-favored savings. The thinking is that if the employee is a “good consumer,” they will find ways to keep more of their tax-favored savings that they can use in future years rather than use it for health care.

Consumer driven group health plans couple a high deductible health plan with one or more of the following types of IRS approved programs: Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Medical Expense Reimbursement Plans (MERPS).

Companies that select consumer driven group health plans (CDHPs) generally see a significant, but moderate and often short term, reduction in the inflationary increases in group medical insurance expenses. However, we now believe that CDHP advocates are making the wrong argument, and are missing the point.

While CDHP advocates might be winning a lower rate increase for a year, they are losing the war on affordable health care and health insurance, and are only motivating the proponents of universal health care and nationalized health insurance to work harder to get their candidates elected in 2008.

We feel that consumer driven group health plans do not do enough to control the cost of group health insurance. Even if company receives a premium group health insurance premium increase of 7% instead of 15%, that is still a doubling in rates by the year 2015. Clearly, that is too much.

We feel that the basic premise of CDHPs is wrong. The challenge is not to make the employees pay more for group health insurance, and then reward them for shopping for less expensive health care and avoiding medical claims. CDHPs represent short-sighted thinking and bandaid fix for group health insurance.

We feel that the only way to achieve a fundamental change in the cost of employee group health insurance is to make employees accountable for maintaining healthy lifestyles. Fully 75% of all diseases in the US are preventable. Group health insurance plans that reward employees for preventing diseases represents could truly reduce health care expenses for employers and employees alike.

Employers should be able to hold their employees accountable for their own lifestyles. A group health insurance plan that rewards tobacco-free, obesity-free living, and rewards employees and dependents for maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle is the goal.

With this type of plan, employees could avoid or minimize the chance of their family’s suffering and the cost of diseases such as diabetes, diseases of the heart and circulatory system, stroke, and cancer-related diseases. Plus, employers would benefit from a true systemic reduction in medical insurance expenses, and reduce lost time productivity and wages due to sickness.

Employees who choose a healthy lifestyle would receive tax-favored incentives for losing weight for stopping use of tobacco, etc. Those incentives would effectively lower the cost of the employee’s out of pocket medical expenses to below what they would otherwise spend.

Those employees who choose not to live healthy lifestyles would not reap the rewards and incentives that the employer’s plan offers, and would pay more for their health care. Or they could choose to seek employment elsewhere with a company or organization that offers a group health insurance plan that does not reward healthy employees with lower cost health insurance and incentives for a healthy lifestyle.

This simple concept, for employers to reward employees who choose to live healthy lives with lower health care expenses, represents a major departure from the current CDHP movement. Forward-thinking CEOs can now have a major impact on permanently reducing the cost of group health insurance, can improve their company’s bottom line, and can play a major positive role in improving the lives of their employees and their families.

We will elaborate on this concept in future articles and will show employers how step by step how they can implement employee wellness as a key driver in their company’s employee benefits and human resources plan. Individuals interested are encouraged to contact for more information.